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Government/Politics

Why Ohio Taxpayers Are Now Paying For Hotels For State Lawmakers

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Recent federal income tax reforms have eliminated itemized deductions which Ohio lawmakers often used when they stayed overnight while doing legislative business in Columbus. Now, Ohio taxpayers are picking up the tab for some of those expenses. 

Starting August 1st, Ohio House members who live 60 miles or more from the Ohio Statehouse can get a $65-a-night subsidy to help pay for hotel rooms on days when committee meetings or legislative sessions are held. This is on top of 52-cent-a mile reimbursement lawmakers receive for travel while doing the state’s business.

It used to be all taxpayers could write off overnight hotel stays for business purposes on their tax returns but the recent federal tax changes made in 2017 took those deductions away. Now that lawmakers can no longer do that, the Ohio House has decided to pick up some of that tab.

In a written statement, House spokeswoman Gail Crowley says the costs for subsidizing housing will vary depending on the number of days on which sessions or hearings are held. At this point, the Ohio Senate is not offering its members reimbursement for hotel rooms.

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